Bangladesh Hires U.S. Firm to Oversee First Satellite Project

[Satellite TODAY Insider 04-02-12] The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) signed a $10 million consultancy deal with Maryland-based Space Partnership International (SPI) in the United States to design the nation’s first satellite, Bangabandhu, BTRC officials confirmed March 30.

   The satellite will be launched into space by 2015 to reduce Bangladesh’s reliance on foreign satellites for cable and DTH service and to improve telecom services to the remote areas of the country. BTRC added that meteorological data and disaster warnings also would be available via the satellite, including applications for mapping natural resources.
   SPI will design the Bangabandhu satellite and its maintenance system. The company also will create a business plan for BTRC in operating the satellite, while coordinating frequency allocation with international agencies. SPI will then hire a manufacturing company under the deal to build the satellite and launch it in orbit in the next three years.
   “Bangladesh will be able to earn $3 billion in the next 15 years by offering various services through using the satellite,” SPI Managing Director Bruce Kraselsky said in a statement.
Bangladesh currently pays $11 million in satellite bandwidth rent to international satellites per year. The country’s telecommunication sector currently obtains bandwidth from a lone submarine cable, SEA-ME-WE 4. Bangladesh will be connected with another submarine cable, SEA-ME-WE 5, in 2014.
   “Building and sending a satellite into space costs about $150 million, but the cost depends on the satellite’s capacity,” said Kraselsky. “The country, however, will be able to generate a yearly income of $50 million from the spacecraft alone. The satellite also would help Bangladesh in global communication and also facilitate telemedicine, emergency service and border security and back up the current communication channels.”
   Bangladesh’s government has yet to finalize the launching cost of Bangabandhu.
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